Husband Envy

It’s not the first time I daydreamed I was

Nicole Krauss, authoress

all-around good

woman good Jewish but not so Jewish

writer I could aspire towards

and as a matter of curiosity

exactly one day

(perhaps only hours!)

older than I.

But today most of all

when I learned husband

Jonathan

Safran

Foer

(even his name sounds groovy out loud with line breaks forcing teeth against my lips)

cuts up old books to make

new books

Fresh! Magical!

I thought I couldn’t stand to

be me another day

I just want to be Nicole Krauss

just to be married to a man

who thinks up cutting up

old books to make new ones

who writes books called

Extremely Loud

Incredibly Close

and then writes a book

about not Eating Animals

because sometimes he

doesn’t eat them

out of kindness or conviction

and then – to top it all off with an all-natural maraschino cherry –

lives in Park Slope and wears

smart but sexy glasses.

I imagine him sitting there

next to her

at a wooden desk in their house in Brooklyn

(the desk was his

found at an antiques shop in New Paltz)

separating their two laptops is an

antique robin blue typewriter

maybe even with Hebrew letters like

the one I drooled over but

didn’t haggle over

(4000 shekels!)

in the artist’s colony in the Golan Heights.

There is an imposed silence every week day

in Chez Safran Foer Krauss

from 8 am to 12:45 for

Writing Time.

They write and write and write

while sipping organic espresso

a matter that is serious to both of them

but they’re considering giving up

because of stomachaches.

On Wednesdays they listen to

Van Morrison for inspiration.

On Fridays he makes her a spinach and goat cheese omelette

and takes out the recyclables

and this is their life

I imagine

unless one of their kids is sick –

then she is downstairs

on the couch watching

Phineas and Ferb and

gritting her teeth in

frustrated agony

the way writers who are also

mothers grit their teeth.

She considers calling the nanny

but she won’t while he is upstairs cutting up

old books

to make new books

new stories.

She’ll wait.

Or that’s what I’d do.

Wait and wait and wait

and grit teeth

until Wednesday when the fever breaks

and she takes

her laptop

to the café down the corner

and stays there

til the sun goes down

til closing time

so he can sing the kids to sleep

and she can see if her Wikipedia page

is longer than his or

for once write a novel on the napkins

like she’s wanted to for

the last three years

and glue them together

with Juicy Fruit gum.

Fresh! Magical!

Sometimes, she writes

in her journal

how she wishes the internet would break

so she could start over

and find the wooden desk

in New Paltz first.

Or marry a carpenter.

And this is when

I understand why

she is keeping her name

and writing poetry again

and practicing the Law of Attraction

on the door to the cafe

daydreaming it’s a portal

to that kibbutz she volunteered on

in the summer of 1990-something

a kibbutz in the Lower Galilee

a lemon tree in the front yard

that looks remarkably

like the one I see

through my bathroom window.

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6 thoughts on “Husband Envy

  1. Shivers, absolute shivers. I’m so happy I came upon this while sitting in the first of several airports. Now this one is my favourite! I can’t even tell you which parts I love because so much of it made me nod and smile…maybe the imposed silence, the teeth gritting, or the lemon tree at the end. Love it!

    Like

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